CHATTANOOGA (WATE) – The FBI says the July 2015 shooting that killed five servicemen in Chattanooga might have been prevented if someone had come forward.
Special Agent in Charge Ed Reinhold told WTVC at a news conference Thursday that they believe people knew Mohammad Abdulazeez was radicalized but never reported it to authorities. He also says Abdulazeez began researching radical views online a year before the attack.
“We learned early on it was pretty much based on his viewing of al-Awlaki videos and who else may have seen those videos and was he trying to recruit anybody,” he said at the news conference.Related coverage: Chattanooga Shooting
Reinhold says he took a trip to the Middle East that same year and the guns used in the attack were purchased legally months before.
“There was no reason why Abdulazeez could not have purchased those weapons. He had not committed any felonies. There was nothing that would prohibit him from owning or purchasing weapons,” Reinhold said.
Reinhold says that might have changed if someone had come forward to report him.
“I think the most frustrating thing for me personally is the fact that individuals, their behaviors will change. People will become aware that there’s something different that they may be becoming radicalized and they fail to report it. That’s the most frustrating thing for me and law enforcement.”
Four Marines and a sailor were killed in the attacks at Lee Highway Recruiting Center and the Navy Operational Support Center. Abdulazeez was shot and killed by police.